By Jefferson Beavers, communication specialist, Department of English
The student-organized Chicanx Writers and Artists Association will host two visiting authors on campus this spring and will release the latest edition of its popular literary journal, Flies, Cockroaches & Poets.
The readings are hosted by CWAA vice president Mariah Bosch, and the managing editor of the journal is CWAA president Esmeralda Gamez. Both are graduate students in Fresno State’s Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing.
Bosch said it’s important to members of the group to bring writers of color to campus who represent not only the student body but the community at large. Through the Department of English, CWAA received support this year from the Instructionally Related Activities fund to invite both speakers and to publish the journal.
“In bringing multiple speakers, we’re introducing the community to multiple styles, voices, and ranges of experience for writers of color,” Bosch said. “And we really loved the variety of submissions we received for Flies, Cockroaches & Poets. It feels as though the journal shapeshifts each year.”
Friday, Feb. 14 – Ada Limón
Ada Limón (pictured above) is the author of five books of poetry, including “The Carrying,” which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry and was named one of the top 5 poetry books of the year by the Washington Post. Her fourth book, “Bright Dead Things,” was named a finalist for the National Book Award, a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
She serves on the faculty of Queens University of Charlotte’s low-residency MFA program, and the online and summer programs for the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. She also works as a freelance writer in Lexington, Kentucky.
The reading will be held at 7 p.m. in the Alice Peters Auditorium (PB 191), inside the University Business Center, 5245 N. Backer Ave. Admission is free, and parking is free in recommended lots P5 and P6.
Friday, Feb. 28 – Flies, Cockroaches & Poets journal release
To celebrate the release of the 2020 edition of the Flies, Cockroaches & Poets journal, CWAA will invite those published in the book to read from their works.
The journal, first published in 1991 by CWAA co-founders and Fresno State alumni authors Daniel Chacón and Andrés Montoya, has given multiple generations of Fresno writers their first publication in print. The journal features writing and art related to community, culture, identity, and social justice within Chicanx, Latinx, indigenous, and under-represented communities across California.
The reading will be held at 8 p.m. in the Conley Art Auditorium (CA 101), 5225 N. Backer Ave. Admission is free, and parking is free in recommended lots P5 and P6.
Saturday, April 18 – Monica Sok
Monica Sok is a Cambodian American poet and the daughter of former refugees. Her debut poetry collection, “A Nail the Evening Hangs On,” is just out this spring from Copper Canyon Press. She is also the author of “Year Zero,” winner of a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship. Her work has been recognized with a Discovery Prize from 92Y. She has received fellowships and residencies from Hedgebrook, Elizabeth George Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Kundiman, Jerome Foundation, Montalvo Arts Center, MacDowell Colony, Saltonstall Foundation, and others.
Currently, Sok is a 2018-2020 Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. She teaches poetry to Southeast Asian youths at the Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants and Banteay Srei in Oakland. She is originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
The reading will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Conley Art Auditorium (CA 101), 5225 N. Backer Ave. Admission is free, and parking is free in recommended lots P5 and P6.
For information on joining CWAA, or on their upcoming events, you can email the club’s organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Creative Writing Program graduate assistant Nou Her contributed to this report.)